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RESCON: Construction industry update on COVID-19
March 18th, 2020 4:33 pm     A+ | a-
 
Richard Lyall and Andrew Pariser / RESCON
 
Premier Doug Ford took important measures to declare a state of emergency on Tuesday. The focus is on the continuity of the province’s supply chain, as well as continuing the operation of essential services such as grocery stores, pharmacies and certain industries including construction. This means our industry will continue to work.
 
That move was the impetus for the first of our blogs that we will publish and share when necessary through the next few weeks on our social media networks. With the number of news updates out there already providing plenty of information, we plan on providing our blog readers with the details on the industry that they need.
 
Please remember that while the COVID-19 pandemic situation evolves, the legislation and regulations that govern Ontario’s economy and workplaces have not changed. This means the Occupational Health and Safety Act still governs on-site activity including an Employer’s duty to maintain safe workplaces and employees’ right to refuse unsafe work.
 
The Province’s main COVID-19 webpage can be found at https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus and is being updated several times a day. In addition, the following webpage is a leading dashboard of Canadian stats – https://resources-covid19canada.hub.arcgis.com/ -- it will continually be updated.
 



In addition, this email will provide updates in the following areas:

1. Provincial Announcements
2. Federal Announcements
3. Tarion Updates
4. Municipal Updates
5. Supply Chain and Sub-Trades
6. Union Updates
 
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1. Provincial Announcements
 
The Premier and select cabinet ministers provided updates on Monday and Tuesday. This included the following:
 
(a) Ontario declares a state of emergency: https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/ontario-enacts-declaration-of-emergency-to-protect-the-public.html?utm_source=ondemand&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=p
- The following facilities are closed: any providing indoor recreational programs; all public libraries; all private schools as defined in the Education Act; all licensed child care centres; all bars and restaurants, except to the extent that such facilities provide takeout food and delivery; all theatres including those offering live performances of music, dance, and other art forms, as well as cinemas that show movies; and concert venues.
- All organized public events of over 50 people are also prohibited, including parades and events and communal services within places of worship. These orders were approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and will remain in place until March 31, 2020, at which point they will be reassessed and considered for extension, unless this order is terminated earlier.
- Click on the link above to learn more about funding allocated to essential health care.
 

(b) Labour legislation aimed at Job Protection for Workers during the COVID-19 Situation. https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2020/03/job-protection-for-workers-during-the-covid-19-situation.html. It will:

- provide job protection to anyone in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19, including those who need to be away from work to care for children because of school or day-care closures.
- remove the requirement for a doctor’s note from those in isolation at home due to COVID-19 symptoms.


(c) Ontario Budget 2020 now an Economic and Fiscal update

- Update will focus on increased resources available for the Province’s health-care system and further actions to protect the economy and workers.
- This will allow the government the flexibility to adjust the formal budget as the pandemic continues to evolve.


(d) Ministry of Labour

- We are waiting for a formal update, but expect an announcement to deal with pressing issue related to expiring certificates (Working at Heights, etc.).

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2. Federal Announcements

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made announcements on Tuesday and Wednesday that affects all business in Canada.
- https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cbsa-border-airports-screening-trudeau-covid19-coronavirus-1.5498866
- https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-us-border-deal-1.5501289


Highlights include:
 
- Barring entry to all travellers who are not Canadian citizens or permanents residents (excluding air crews, diplomats, immediate family members of citizens and U.S. citizens), as well as non-essential travel across the border.
- Supporting workers in quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate by waiving the mandatory one-week waiting period for EI (employment insurance).
- Federal aid to help support employers and their workers who are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19.

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3. Tarion Updates

As released recently, all Tarion updates and advisories can be found at: https://www.tarion.com/news/64045/tarions-response-covid-19 

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4. Municipal Updates

RESCON is working with the OBOA and monitoring municipal websites. While we are waiting for a formal update from the OBOA, they have confirmed that all municipalities should have a pandemic policy in place which should be made public in the near future. We will monitor municipalities and continue to provide updates related to permits, inspections and other services builders rely upon. Below is a list of all GTA municipalities and a link to where they provide updates: 
 
Ajax - https://www.ajax.ca/en/novel-coronavirus-update.aspx#
Aurora - https://www.aurora.ca/en/covid-19.aspx
Brampton - https://www.brampton.ca/EN/City-Hall/News/Pages/Service-and-Information-Update.aspx/184
Brock - https://townshipofbrock.ca/township-of-brock-response-to-covid-19/
Burlington - https://www.burlington.ca/en/Modules/News/index.aspx?newsId=2c31f532-8067-4fd3-98eb-981a31e7861c
Caledon - https://www.caledon.ca/en/news/index.aspx?feedId=0127b33c-5724-41f6-a710-50fe8f39b605&catId=7507d829-3454-4c70-b9f0-39f12cf76a7a&newsId=cbc0e773-6332-49d5-867e-77ba22afbcf8
Clarington - https://www.clarington.net/en/news/clarington-closes-all-recreation-facilities-and-cancels-programs.asp
East Gwillimbury - http://www.eastgwillimbury.ca/About_Us/Public_Notices/General_Notices/COVID-19_Update.htm
Georgina - https://www.georgina.ca/article/programming-changes-amid-covid-19
Halton Hills - https://www.haltonhills.ca/closures/
King - http://www.king.ca/Government/Departments/Administration/Pages/COVID-19.aspx
Markham - https://www.markham.ca/wps/portal/home/news/markham-covid-19
Milton - https://www.milton.ca/en/news/covid-19.aspx
Mississauga - https://web.mississauga.ca/city-of-mississauga-news/novel-coronavirus-information-covid-19/
Newmarket - https://www.newmarket.ca/covid19
Oakville - https://www.oakville.ca/townhall/covid-19.html
Oshawa - https://www.oshawa.ca/residents/covid-19-information-updates.asp
Pickering - https://www.pickering.ca/en/city-hall/covid-19-update.aspx#
Richmond Hill - https://www.richmondhill.ca/en/find-or-learn-about/novel-coronavirus.aspx#
Scugog - https://www.scugog.ca/Modules/News/index.aspx?newsId=354d886b-1066-4265-a259-f9a5fbd55066
Toronto - https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/affected-city-services/
Uxbridge - https://uxbridge.ca/
Vaughan - https://www.vaughan.ca/news/COVID19/Pages/default.aspx
Whitby - https://www.whitby.ca/en/
Whitchurch-Stouffville - http://www.townofws.ca/Modules/News/index.aspx?feedId=46f99132-b103-49c3-bbd6-47bf91c33616&newsId=270311ba-01bc-4993-a703-4fc21a2c8d82


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5. Supply Chain and Sub-trades
 
As you may be aware, many suppliers and sub-trades are implementing their own policies and are also impacted by COVID-19. In some cases, some finishing trades including HVAC, painting, and electrical have reduced or cancelled non-emergency service. 
 
RESCON will continue to monitor sub-trades and the supply chain and keep builders informed as updates become available.
 
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6. Union Updates:
 
Various trade unions have taken similar measures in terms of office contact and schedules. Visit their individual websites for more information.
 
RESCON will continue to provide updates on our blog, whenever necessary in the coming weeks. We will provide important industry information and ensure that we are a resource for our members, key stakeholders, media and the public going forward as new information becomes available.
 
We will be in touch as news progresses and updates become available. If you have questions, concerns or information we are available at pariser@rescon.com or lyall@rescon.com.
 
 
Richard Lyall, president of RESCON, has represented the building industry in Ontario since 1991. Andrew Pariser is the vice-president of RESCON and chair of RESCON's training and apprenticeship committee.
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